Melbourne Watch Co have a knack of designing and building decent quality timepieces at reasonable prices. One of their latest offerings, the Carlton, provides sleek 1960’s styling with a modern twist. One thing I really like about MWC is how they always dedicate their watches to something or somewhere in their home city. In this case, Carlton is an inner-city suburb of Melbourne.
It’ll cost you £240 / $495 AUD / $340 USD, and features a Seiko mecha-quartz movement, sapphire crystal and polished rose gold plated case. Let’s see if it’s worth it.
Size: 42mm x 52mm x 11mm
Movement: Seiko VK64
Lug width: 22mm
Water resistance: 50m
The case measures in at 42mm in diameter, 52mm lug to lug, and 11mm tall. For a classic / smart watch, this is quite imposing and takes up a lot of wrist space. Thankfully the 1mm height is thin enough to slip under a cuff still.
With a weight of 77g, it’s light enough to counteract the size and maintain a comfortable wear.
The cushion shape is pretty vintage, and is a key aspect of the 1960’s styling. The case main (not the caseback, more on that later) is completely polished and rose gold plated. All of the finishing and machining is splendid.
The flat sapphire crystal is extremely clear, and it has an excellent anti-reflective coating.
The pushers have a large base to push, and provide a decent click upon pressing.
The push-pull crown is small, with the Melbourne Watch Co logo engraved in the end. It’s a little hard to pull out, as it’s quite inset into the case.
The screw-in stainless steel caseback features an engraved relief of Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, located within the Carlton suburb. The engraving is very accurate considering the detail.
The dial is a smart and classy silver / champagne colour. With concentric circular patterns on the subdials providing a sense of depth, the dial is simplistic and smart. It also has a number of design cues that can be found across all the MWC models which is a really nice touch.
With the accurate and precise printing of the seconds track, logo in the top half and “Carlton” in script in the bottom half, the details are all elegantly done and not overpowering.
The main hands are extremely simple pitched sticks with a point, with a tiny slither of C3 Super-Luminova running through the centre. The second hand is classic Melbourne Watch Co, very thin with the “M” logo acting as the counterweight. The hands are all well made.
The hour markers are also a classic Melbourne Watch Co feature – with applied batons and a “blob” at the base, the exact same as can be found on the Parkville and Flinders.
The subdials provide depth to the dial, and the hands are pitched to reflect the light in a pleasing way.
The leather strap on the Carlton is a lovely deep brown colour that suits the rose gold case. The strap measures in at 22mm wide at the lugs, tapering down to 20mm wide at the buckle.
The leather is comfortable and decent quality, with a soft underside that has the Melbourne Watch Co logo and “genuine leather” stamped on. It’s not stiff (for a new strap this can often be the case), but rather, it’s supple and has plenty of wiggle.
The top has a crocodile grain print applied to it, which has a nice variety of shades of brown. This couples with the brown stitching well.
The buckle is another key feature of MWC that appears across all their models. It has a distinctive bulge that surrounds and contains the circular logo. The buckle is rose gold plated, to match the case.
The movement in the Melbourne Watch Co Carlton is one that we’re starting to see more of: the Seiko VK64. It’s a mecha-quartz, meaning that it uses the best of both mechanical and quartz technologies. The main time keeping element of the movement is quartz, using the battery as normal. However, when using the chronograph, it uses a mechanical system that is also powered by the battery. The key difference to note is that when you use the chrono, it has a “sweep” of 5 ticks per second rather than a once-per-second tick as a normal quartz chrono would.
The specs include: 3 year battery life, the usual good quartz accuracy of +/- 20 seconds per month, date indicator (although not used on the Carlton), 24 hour indicator (the subdial at 3), and of course, the chronograph function. The fact that it’s a Seiko movement means that it’s going to be a well-made, reliable movement.
Considering what you get, I’d say that £240 / $495 AUD / $340 USD is a pretty reasonable price. The Carlton is a watch that’s been thought-out, is well made, and offers 1960’s styling that can’t be found too often. When you couple that with a cool mecha-quartz movement, sapphire crystal, and all-round decent finishing, the Melbourne Watch Co Carlton is a great proposition. Whilst I personally wouldn’t wear it religiously (I’m more inclined towards divers as my everyday wear), it would definitely have a good part to play in a collection.